Travel does more than generate carbon emissions; it creates plenty of paperwork that you need to process and manage correctly. If you find yourself drowning in a sea of receipts and red tape, it is time to streamline your travel reimbursement process so that your employees can focus on their jobs, and you can concentrate on other elements of your business. Toward that goal, the following are some ways you can streamline the process to make it easier for everyone.

Review Your Rules

Make sure that your policies for travel reimbursements are clear. Spell out which documents need to accompany the request. Identify timeframes and steps employees need to take when submitting their requests. Most importantly, make sure that you identify which expenses the company will cover, per diem rates, approved service providers, and other critical details.

Employees should understand these rules before they ever board a plane or sit down in the car. Many times, employees will submit reimbursement requests that are not covered, such as for alcoholic beverages, entertainment, the expenses of accompanying family members, etc. These standards require you to sort through the costs and can result in disagreements with employees who believed the expense was allowable.

One fabulous (and cheap) way to avoid confusion is to provide each employee with a receipt bag with the reimbursement policy printed on the front before each trip. This practice helps employees keep their receipts organized, and it ensures they know what expenses are covered, and which costs are not.

Let Software Do the Heavy Lifting

Receipts get lost, and paperwork gets shuffled. The best way to avoid the loss of paperwork during the reimbursement process is to use software to manage and process claims. There are many programs available that allow you to scan receipts into the system, communicate with employees, and make payments automatically.

These programs also provide detailed task lists that make it easy for employees, managers, and HR to see which tasks are completed and which are still in process. When everything is digitized, it is also easier to spot mistakes and accounting errors. All you have to do is find the right software setup for your needs.

Stick to the System

Once word gets out that you let Sally in shipping get away with something, then Matt in marketing and Paul in product development are going to want to get away with something, too. It is vital to keep all of your employees on the same page regarding travel reimbursement policies and procedures. Once you start to bend these, it won’t be long before chaos ensues, and the system breaks down.

Update Reimbursement Policies as Needed

You should regularly review your travel reimbursement policies and update them as required. For example, when you establish a vendor relationship with a hotel chain or if there are changes to your company-issued credit cards. Likewise, you should adjust deadlines and required tasks when you start to see patterns emerge. For example, if employees complain that the policy timeframes are too short or too long, they may forget to submit their reimbursement requests on time.

We encourage you to contact Greenlink Payroll at (480) 385-2525 for more information about the things you can do to streamline your business processes. From company travel to time tracking to benefits and payroll, it is our pleasure to provide you with the support and guidance you need to improve the way your employees work.